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As for Cuba's leap onto the Internet, he opens with a hint of sarcasm: “We just don't have the money to provide every household with a computer and a DSL connection. But the nation does have the possibility of connecting to the wired world in the broader sense.” Although bandwidth is pitifully small (a condition Coro blames on the U.S. embargo), he says, “There's a lot of very valuable information that's already existing, so let's make it available. Whether it's been brought into the country by me getting on a plane with a set of CD-ROMs or downloaded off the Internet.”

As for the Net's dangers, Coro exhorts, “The Internet was the brainchild of the American defense industry. That arouses suspicion in even the most naive person on the planet.” From here he begins revving up. “We are not giving our enemies the slightest chance to use modern technology against us!” he cries. “Those who want to turn Cuba into another star on the U.S. flag, those who are allies of the Cuban American National Foundation and all that shit will not get an e-mail account!” Attempting to cut through the rhetoric, Kulchur asks just what in particular the Cuban government fears.

A twinkle forms in Coro's eyes and he leans in close, saying softly: “I'm going to be very open with you.” Pregnant pause. Kulchur resists the urge to look back over his shoulder. What lurks in Castro's darkest nightmares? Cuban-exile hackers? Anti-socialist chat rooms? No. It's porn sites. “The Cubans are so sex-motivated that they just don't need any more of that sort of thing,” Coro says, shaking his head. “Pornography is a terrible thing for any society. It's demoralizing, it's unethical, it's everything that's negative.”

So how exactly is the revolution going to protect itself against “By judiciously knowing which sites contain pornography,” he explains, “you can block them out so anything sex-related is stopped.” If there's any irony in both Fidel and the Christian Coalition sharing the same passion for Net-filtering software, it's lost on Coro. “This is an ideological struggle,” he asserts.

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Brett Sokol
Contact: Brett Sokol